Clean Air Fairbanks today released a new report:
Alaska Heating Coal may Violate Manufacturer Fuel Use Requirements: Safety Risks from Burning High-moisture Alaska Coal
Summary: Coal stoves are typically designed for coal types not available in Alaska. The moisture content of Alaska coal is high relative to other types of coal. High-moisture coal burns with higher emissions and carries a far higher risk of explosions, chimney fires, and structure fires.
“Improper use and the failure to follow manufacturer guidelines can result in a disaster for the occupants of the home,” states a recent warning from the Division of Fire and Life Safety of the Alaska Department of Public Safety. “Only use a grade of coal that is recommended by the manufacturer of your heating equipment and do not put coal in a heating device that is not recommended to burn coal. Make sure that your wood or coal burning stove has been tested and approved by a third party testing laboratory such as UL.”
UL certification of heating devices is limited to fuels approved by the manufacturer. To load a stove with improper fuel‒even just one time‒voids the warranty and UL certification. UL certification is in the fine print of insurance policies, mortgage agreements, leases, and other contracts pertaining to property and liabilities.
However, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed to approve “coal” and “coal pellets” for coal heaters in the Fairbanks PM2.5 nonattainment area.
The report offers recommendations to address the statewide safety risks from burning high-moisture Alaska coal in heating devices.